Life Changing Book

The first book that changed my life forever, wasn’t an inspirational or motivational book.  The author is not a guru of any type.  The first book that changed my life forever, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume.

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I have dyslexia and the school I was attending used phonics to teach us to read.  I have nothing against phonics, but it is a horrible way to teach a child with dyslexia.  However, that information was not known at the time.

I also have a hearing disability that made it impossible for me to differentiate some of the vowel sounds.

What a combination?  It’s no wonder I struggled learning to read and lost the desire to even try.

I was in forth grade and the teacher decided to read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to the class.  Each day, she would read a couple of chapters.  I would close my eyes and picture the story in my mind.  It was my favorite part of the day.

When she finished reading the book, I felt lost.  I wanted to know more about Peter and his brother.  I went to the library and eventually read all the books they had by Judy Blume.  After I ran out of Judy Blume books, I started to read books by Beverly Cleary.  Next I was ready about Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew.

It was a struggle at first, but the more time I spent reading the better I got.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the most effective way to teach someone with my set of disabilities to read was through a method of repetitive sight reading.  Since I fell in love with stories, that is exactly what I was doing.

It was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing that motivated me to develop my reading skills and gave me a love for books.  It changed my life forever.

Friends With Similar Disabilities

I stumbled across this news article the other day.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/38883711/hearing-aids-lead-to-unique-friendship-at-madison-county-elementary-school

To sum it up, a forth grader with a hearing disability saw a kindergartner wearing hearing aids, so he went up the kindergartner and introduced himself.  The kindergartner was thrilled to meet another child with hearing aids.

The two boys have become friends, due to their shared experience.  They are able to work together to teach other kids about their disability and how hearing aids work.

They can also help each other navigate through obstacles and pitfalls that occur when you have a hearing disability in childhood.

This article touched my heart, because I too have a hearing disability that started in early childhood.  I wasn’t lucky enough to meet another hearing disabled child, so I often struggled alone.

Even as an adult, if I run into a young person with a hearing aid I feel an immediate connection.  I want to talk to them about their experiences, how they handle certain situations, and how having a hearing disability has impacted their life.

Growing up with a hearing impairment is a unique experience and not something most people can understand.  I am glad these boys found each other.

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Hearing Loss in Childhood

I was born with inner-ear deformities, so I have dealt with hearing loss my entire life.

In school, I struggled to hear the teacher.  As a result, I was viewed as intellectually challenged.  I was also punished for failing to follow directions that I never heard or that I misunderstood.

I couldn’t explain to the adults in my life what was happening.  I didn’t understand it myself.  I didn’t know the other children were hearing things that I missed.

For me, I think the saddest part of growing up with a hearing disability, is believing I was stupid and that I would never succeed in school or in life.

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BAHA Update

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I’ve worn the BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) implant for a couple of months now, so I thought I would write an updated review.

On the plus side, I am hearing a lot better with the implant.  The other day, I was listening to crickets.  I thought it was so funny that they sound like birds.  I also find it easier to communicate with people.  A few times, I even understood what someone behind me said.  That was cool.

On the negative side, the outer processor is very delicate.  I can’t wear it when I am engaging in any physical activity.  I also can’t wear a hat with the outer processor.  That has been frustrating for me, since it limits my ability to use the BAHA implant.

I would still recommend the BAHA implant to anyone that needs it.  It is a great device and I enjoy having it.